The Mount Pleasant High School Chorale had the distinct honor of performing the “National Anthem” at the February 8th Texas A&M-College Station Girls Basketball game against Ole Miss.
The trip also included a visit to Stephen F. Austin University for a campus tour and the chance to sit in on their women’s Choir Rehearsal on the way to College Station. The trip home on February 9 included a stop at Baylor University to watch their A Capella Choir rehearsal. MPHS graduate Christina Kessler is a member of the Choir.
Luke Dean, MPHS Choir Director explains how it all came about and the process for the actual performance:
“In December I was forwarded an email by MPHS Counselor Dawn Trickey. One of her college visit contacts at A&M works in Group Ticket Sales for their athletic events. He was inquiring if the MPHS Choir would like to sing the National Anthem for one of the upcoming women’s basketball games.
“After contacting him myself, we settled on a few dates that might work. I borrowed a video camera from John Whitten and taped the Chorale singing the National Anthem. Mr. Whitten transformed the video to a YouTube clip and I sent it to A&M and waited to be selected.
“We left Thursday morning and stopped at Stephen F. Austin University for a quick campus tour and sat in on their Women’s Choir rehearsal. Then we traveled to College Station. We arrived at Reed Arena early for sound check, and then had time for supper. The game was being televised on the SEC network (but not the National Anthem) so everything was timed and scheduled. We were lined up and ready to go, and then got a 10-second warning. We walked onto center court with the players of both teams on either side of us. There, under the jumbotron, we sang the National Anthem. Afterwards we stayed and watched the game as the Aggie girls smoked Ole Miss, 83-54.”
“This was an exciting opportunity for our choir students,” said Dr. Judith Saxton, MPISD Director of Communication. “The fans and players at the game got to hear how great our Choir is and our students got the chance to perform before an out-of-town audience. They also got to visit two universities and experience what the Choir experience is like there. This is a trip they will remember for a long time. Thanks to Luke Dean, Dawn Trickey and John Whitten for making the trip possible.”
Photo: The MPHS Chorale at Sound Check before their performance at Reed Arena.